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Robert Rodriguez in Talks to Direct ‘Escape From New York’ Remake

26 minutes ago

Robert Rodriguez is in negotiations to direct the remake of John Carpenter’s iconic “Escape From New York.”

Fox is targeting summer for the start of production, with Michael Ireland overseeing the film. The project has been in the works at the studio since 2015, when Fox obtained the remake rights to “Escape From New York,” starring Kurt Russell as “Snake” Plissken. StudioCanal sold the rights to Fox, which topped several bids.

Carpenter will exec produce the reboot. Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman’s The Picture Company is also producing. Neil Cross, creator of the BBC crime series “Luther,” wrote the script.

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Bold Films, Robert Rodriguez Developing Horror Movie ‘Blood’ (Exclusive)

The original “Escape From New York,” released in 1981, took place in a dystopian 1997 Manhattan after it had been turned into a maximum security prison. The story centered on Plissken being recruited to rescue the U.S. president (played by »


- Dave McNary

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Health Care Plan Problems Take Center Stage in Writers Guild-Studios’ Contract Talks

36 minutes ago

The halls of Congress aren’t the only place where a strenuous debate over the fate of health care has taken place this week.

The financial strain on the Writers Guild of America’s health care plan has been a central issue during the past two weeks of master contract negotiations between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The guild is seeking a significant step-up in AMPTP funding for the plan, which is calculated as a percentage of WGA member earnings. The WGA plan, like SAG-aftra’s and the DGA’s, is administered by a joint committee of guild and management reps, and is known for offering generous coverage with little out-of-pocket expense from members who earn enough annually to qualify for coverage.

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Writers Guild Contract Talks Begin Amid Anxiety

At present, that health care qualifying earnings threshold stands at a minimum of $38,302 within four consecutive quarters. »


- Cynthia Littleton and Dave McNary

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‘Empire’ Star Grace Byers Joins Karl Urban and Sofia Vergara in ‘Bent’

42 minutes ago

Grace Byers, who plays Lucious Lyon’s wife Anika on “Empire,” has joined Karl Urban and Sofia Vergara in the indie thriller “Bent.”

Andy Garcia also stars with Robert Moresco directing from a script he wrote.

Story follows a shamed and discredited narcotics detective who, upon his release from prison, makes plans to seek revenge on the accuser who framed him and killed his partner.

Byers will play a jazz singer and lounge owner who gets caught up in a police conspiracy. Ambi Entertainment is on board to finance and produce “Bent.” Moresco and David Guillod will also produce.

Production starts this month in Italy.

Byers can still be seen on “Empire,” which just had its spring premiere. She’s also married to “Empire” co-star Trai Byers, pictured above.

She is repped Apa and Primary Wave Entertainment.

Related storiesRemote Controlled: Ilene Chaiken Talks 'Empire' Spinoff: 'You Might Hear Something in »


- Justin Kroll

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Talks to Direct, Star in Musical Comedy With Channing Tatum (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is eyeing a return to the director’s chair, tackling a movie musical with Channing Tatum by his side.

Sources tell Variety that Gordon-Levitt is in early negotiations to direct Universal’s R-rated musical comedy with the running title “Wingmen.” He’s already attached to star in the movie alongside Tatum.

Universal landed the pitch that Gordon-Levitt and “21 Jump Street” scribe Michael Bacall hatched last year following a competitive bidding war that saw several studios chasing the project.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt on ‘Snowden’: What He Did Was a Really Positive Thing for the Country

The story follows two pilots who crash-land in Las Vegas. According to sources, the film is in the vein of “Pitch Perfect” meets “Book of Mormon,” with the dup covering Top 100 hits with a touch of adult humor.

The studio courted filmmakers that included Seth Gordon, James Bobin, and “Book of Mormon” director »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Sing Street’ Star Ian Kenny Joins Han Solo Movie (Exclusive)

1 hour ago

Ian Kenny, who broke out with his scene-stealing performance in “Sing Street,” has joined the ensemble of Lucasfilm’s Han Solo stand alone pic starring Alden Ehrenreich, Variety has learned exclusively.

Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Woody Harrelson, Michael K. Williams, and Emilia Clarke are already set to co-star in the Disney-Lucasfilm feature, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Jon and Lawrence Kasdan are penning the script.

The untitled Han Solo movie hits theaters May 25, 2018. Production is currently underway.

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First Look at ‘Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff Cast

Details about Kenny’s character are unknown. Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call earlier this week that the movie would cover Solo’s life from when he was 18 to 24, revealing how he came to own the Millennium Falcon as well as how he met his Wookie sidekick, Chewbacca.

Produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Allison Shearmur, »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Peter Gunn’ Star Lola Albright Dies at 92

2 hours ago

Lola Albright, the glamorous blonde actress best known for starring on the television series “Peter Gunn,” died Thursday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 92.

A native of Akron, Ohio, news of her death was first reported by the Akron Beacon-Journal. “She went very peacefully,” her friend Eric Anderson told the newspaper. “She died at 7:20 a.m. of natural causes. We loved her so much.”

Albright was a receptionist at Wakr radio in Akron, then left to go to Cleveland’s Wtam, where she wed announcer Warren Dean — the first of three marriages.

Her first film appearance came in 1947 in “The Unfinished Dance,” starring Margaret O’Brien. She then starred with Judy Garland in “Easter Parade” in 1948. The next year she appeared opposite Kirk Douglas in 1949’s “Champion,” portraying a spurned lover. Douglas received an Oscar nomination for his work.

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Celebrities Who Died in 2017

In 1950, she acted »


- Dave McNary

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Panama Film Festival Unveils Centerpiece 2017 Primera Mirada Slate

2 hours ago

The third edition of the Panama Film Festival’s Primera Mirada pix-in-post sidebar has selected four films – from the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama and Puerto Rico- from a total of 48 films submitted from the Central America and the Caribbean.

Primera Mirada is particularly important for the region’s filmmakers who often work miracles to get their projects off the ground and often desperately require post-production completion finance. The number of films submitted to the competition has risen progressively – with 32 films in 2015, 46 in 2016 and 48 this year.

The sidebar attracts leading international sales agents to its screenings – projects will be screened in exclusive private sessions for sales agents, distributors, and film festival programmers – and has served as an important springboard for selected projects.

2015’s Primera Mirada winner, “I Promise You Anarchy,” by Guatemalan director Julio Hernandez Cordon, had its world premiere at Locarno a few months later, followed by screenings in Toronto, »


- Martin Dale

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‘Kong: Skull Island’ Roars to Massive $22.5 Million Opening in China

2 hours ago

Kong: Skull Island” roared to a $22.5 million opening day in China on Friday, including Thursday midnight screenings.

The first-day take represented nearly 76% of China’s total box office haul on Friday. That marks the second-largest English-language film launch of the year in the country, behind “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” and the fifth-biggest Friday debut ever for a U.S. title in the Middle Kingdom.

The international total outside of China has hit $167.3 million, led by the U.K. with $14.8 million, Mexico with $11.8 million, and South Korea with $11.6 million. The monster pic opens in Japan on March 25.

Related

Kong: Skull Island,’ ‘Logan’ and Why March Is Kicking Off Summer Blockbuster Season

Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson star in “Kong: Skull Island,” a reboot of the King Kong franchise set on an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. The film, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, carries a hefty $185 million price tag. »


- Dave McNary

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‘Last Men in Aleppo’ Takes Top Prize at Copenhagen’s Cph:dox Fest

2 hours ago

With the documentary market recently inundated with Syria-themed titles, one title is emerging as the most decorated of the lot. Two months after scooping the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance’s world documentary competition, Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad’s harrowing, immersive war-zone study “Last Men in Aleppo” has also triumphed at Cph:dox, Copenhagen’s eminent all-doc festival.

Fayyad’s film, which follows a hardy group of White Helmets volunteers at the frontline of the conflict in Aleppo, was handed the top prize in the festival’s premier Dox:award section, by a jury whose members included Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing”), Sundance programmer Caroline Libresco, Patricipant Media’s Laura Kim, Marie-Pierre Macia and Renata Santoro. It was also something of a home-turf victory for the Danish co-production, which was co-directed by Dane Steen Johannessen.

The jury described “Last Men in Aleppo” as “a film whose devastating emotional immediacy »


- Guy Lodge

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Box Office: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Still Commanding No. 1 Despite ‘Power Rangers’ Surge

3 hours ago

Disney’s second weekend of “Beauty and the Beast” is heading for a  dominant $85 million in North America for the Friday-Sunday period, early estimates showed Friday.

Lionsgate’s opening of “Power Rangers” is launching with as much as $40 million this weekend — though the studio  is maintaining its $30 million forecast. Sony’s space-thriller “Life” is showing moderate traction with early estimates pegging the film to around $14 million while Warner Bros.’ action-comedy “Chips” appears headed for a quiet opening in the $6 million to $9 million range.

In short, it’s a “Beauty and the Beast” weekend again at 4,210 domestic locations — one that should rank as the fourth-largest second weekend of all time, trailing only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at $149 million, “Jurassic World” at $106 million and “Marvel’s The Avengers” at $103 million.

This weekend will make “Beauty and the Beast” — starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast — the »


- Dave McNary

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Russia Gives Adult Rating to ‘Power Rangers’ Reboot With Lgbt Character

3 hours ago

The Russian distributor of “Power Rangers” informed theaters on Friday that the film’s age restriction had been bumped up from 16+ to 18+.

Although the distributor did not give a reason for the change, the news comes after it was announced that the film features an Lgbt protagonist. In 2013, Russia passed an anti-gay law that banned “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Russian legislator Vitaly Milonov — the man behind the controversial bill — reportedly railed against Lionsgate’s reboot of the popular ’90s franchise, and called its director, Dean Israelite, “a scumbag” on the conservative TV network Tsargrad. The Russian Culture Ministry reportedly also took heat from lawmaker Alexei Zhuravlev.

Related

Power Rangers’ Helmer on Lgbtq Protagonist: ‘We Were Truthful About Representing Teenagers’

In “Power Rangers,” Becky G plays Trini, the Yellow Ranger, who questions her sexuality in a brief moment. “It’s something that I’m really proud of with my character, »


- Seth Kelley

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Colin Farrell in Talks to Star in Tim Burton’s ‘Dumbo’

4 hours ago

Colin Farrell is in talks to star in Tim Burton’s live-action adaptation of “Dumbo” for Disney.

Farrell would play the father of the children who fall in love with the lovable elephant. Will Smith, Chris Pine, and Casey Affleck all passed on the role. Eva Green and Danny DeVito are also in negotiations to join the film.

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Burton is directing from Ehren Kruger’s script. Justin Springer, who worked on “Tron: Legacy,” is producing with Kruger.

The original story followed an ostracized baby circus elephant who strives to achieve his full potential. Burton’s movie will included both live-action and animated elements.

The studio’s emphasis on live-action reboots follows the success of “Maleficent,” “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” and most recently, “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. The Mouse House has remakes of “The Lion King, »


- Justin Kroll

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‘Sinister 2’ Director Ciaran Foy Boards Broad Green’s Horror Movie ‘Eli’

5 hours ago

Sinister 2” director Ciaran Foy has signed on to helm Broad Green Pictures’ horror movie “Eli.”

Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing will rewrite David Chirchirillo’s 2015 Black List script on which the film is based.

The movie, which begins shooting this summer, centers on a young boy who undergoes treatment for a rare disease at a secluded clinic, which becomes a haunted prison with no way out.

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After ‘The Infiltrator’ Fizzles, Broad Green Plots Its Comeback

Trevor Macy producing via his Intrepid Pictures banner. John Zaozirny will also produce for Bellevue Productions, and Gabriel and Daniel Hammond will executive produce for Broad Green. Melinda Nishioka will co-produce for Intrepid.

Foy has several projects in the works at Blumhouse Productions, including “The Shee,” which he will write and direct. Foy’s debut feature was “Citadel,” which premiered at SXSW in 2012 and won the festival’s midnighters audience award. Focus Features »


- Dave McNary

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‘Pretty Woman’: Looking Back at Julia Roberts’ Star-Making Role

6 hours ago

On March 21, 1990, Touchstone Pictures previewed “Pretty Woman” at the Avco Westwood near UCLA, two days before its national launch. Variety columnist Army Archerd reported that laughter drowned out much of the dialogue and young Julia Roberts “is headed for heavy stardom.” In retrospect, that seems like a pretty safe prediction, but Roberts was not well known when she was cast in the film. (She had completed her role as Sally Fields’ daughter in “Steel Magnolias,” but the film hadn’t been released yet). Roberts was only cast in “Pretty Woman” after numerous other actresses had passed on the role, including Meg Ryan, Karen Allen, Molly Ringwald, Diane Lane and Michelle Pfeiffer.

And the project began with a much darker tone; in J.F. Lawton’s original screenplay, streetwalker Vivian (Roberts) agrees to give up cocaine for her week with banker Edward (Richard Gere), but at the end he dumps her back »


- Tim Gray

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Netlflix Lands Motley Crue Biopic ‘The Dirt’

6 hours ago

Netlfix is in final negotiations to acquire the worldwide rights to the long-in-development Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt.”

Jeff Tremaine, who helmed the “Jackass” movies, is directing the film from a script by Rich Wilkes and Tom Kapinos. Julie Yorn, Erik Olsen, and Allen Kovac are producing, while Chris Nilsson, Steve Kline and Rick Yorn are exec producing. Members of the now-retired band are co-producing.

Though Netflix is still in talks for the rights, sources say Liam Hemsworth, Emory Cohen, and Douglas Booth are top choices to play Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, and Tommy Lee, though no official offers have been made yet.

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Adam Sandler to Release Four More Movies on Netflix

Based on the 2001 autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band,” the book follows the group’s rise during the ’80s “hair band” rock scene on the Sunset Strip, and pulls no »


- Justin Kroll

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Adam Sandler to Release Four More Movies on Netflix

6 hours ago

Adam Sandler, the A-list movie star who cleaned up at the ’90s box office with comedic hits such as “The Waterboy” and “Big Daddy,” is sticking with Netflix.

The streaming network announced on Friday that it will be financing and producing four more features with Sandler, which will be released exclusively in homes.

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“Love working with Netflix and collaborating with them,” Sandler said in a statement. “I love how passionate they are about making movies and getting them out there for the whole world to see. They’ve made me feel like family and I can’t thank them enough for their support.”

In 2014, Netflix made a big play when it signed Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions to a four-movie deal. Netflix, which doesn’t disclose viewership figures, has said that Sandler’s first two comedies, “The Ridiculous 6” and “The Do-Over,” have »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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‘Beauty and the Beast’ Nears $500 Million at Worldwide Box Office

7 hours ago

Disney’s blockbuster “Beauty and the Beast” has already topped the $490 million mark at the worldwide box office as it moves into its second weekend.

The live-action musical took in $10.9 million domestically on Thursday, down only 5% from the previous day, to take the seven-day total to $228.6 million — making it one of the top seven opening weeks of all time in North America. Disney noted that the weekday numbers rival those for summer and holidays.

Related

Box Office: ‘Power Rangers’ No Match for ‘Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast” opened in Australia with $1.6 million on Thursday for the second highest March opening day of all-time behind only “Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.” It had already grossed $1.3 million in previews. In Argentina, the film opened to $600,000, the highest opening day of 2017.

Thursday’s international take was $17.8 million, pushing the overseas total to $262 million. China is the leader with $60.3 million, »


- Dave McNary

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Box Office: ‘Power Rangers’ Surges to $3.6 Million on Thursday

9 hours ago

Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers” has launched with a solid $3.6 million at 2,700 North American locations from Thursday night previews.

Sony’s sci-fi thriller “Life” grossed $800,000 from 2,627 preview showings and Warner Bros.’ comedy “Chips’ pulled in $500,000.

Power Rangers,” a reboot of the 1990’s television show about five teenage superheroes, is opening at 3,693 locations Friday with expectations of about $30 million for the weekend. The cast features Becky G. as the Yellow Ranger, Ludi Lin as the Black Ranger, Naomi Scott as the Pink Ranger, Dacre Montgomery as the Red Ranger and R.J. Cyler as the Blue Ranger. Elizabeth Banks plays the evil alien witch Rita Repulsa.

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Film Review: ‘Power Rangers

The movie reimagines the origins of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a group of high schoolers given extraterrestrial powers who unite to save the world. Lionsgate and Haim Saban announced plans in 2014 for a live-action movie based on Saban’s “Power Rangers »


- Dave McNary

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NonStop Acquires Nordic, Baltic Rights to Isis Documentary ‘City of Ghosts’

10 hours ago

NonStop Entertainment has picked up Nordic and Baltic rights to “City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman’s critically acclaimed documentary about the extremist group Islamic State, or Isis.

City of Ghosts” was acquired by Amazon Studios for U.S. distribution out of the Sundance Film Festival and is currently competing at Cph:dox in Copenhagen. It is scheduled for release in the U.S. on July 14.

The documentary charts the rise of Isis, while documenting the courage of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group of citizen journalists who risk their lives to shed light on terrorist activities in Syria.

City of Ghosts” marks Heineman’s follow up to “Cartel Land” which was nominated for an Oscar.

NonStop will release the film in Scandinavia and the Baltics. Miracle Films will partner on Danish distribution, with a theatrical release expected in early fall.

NonStop’s new acquisitions also include “Whose Streets,” Sabaah Folayan »


- Elsa Keslassy

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Cuban-American Actor Tomas Milian, Italian Genre Movies Star, Dies at 84

10 hours ago

Rome – Versatile Cuban-American-Italian actor Tomas Milian, known for the intensity he brought to disparate roles, whether in dramas by directors like Bernardo Bertolucci and Steven Soderbergh or as the Roman lowlife character that made him a household name in Italy, died Thursday. He was 84.

Milian died of a stroke in his Miami home, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

A Method actor who studied with Lee Strasberg, Milian played in about 120 movies during a career spanning six decades. Most of the films were shot in Italy, where he worked with directors Michelangelo Antonioni, Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini besides acting in Spaghetti Westerns, cop movies, and the franchise based on his Roman lowlife character “Er Monnezza” (“Mr. Trash”).

Later in his career, Milian moved to the U.S. where, among other films, he appeared in Sydney Pollack’s “Havana,” in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” and played corrupt General Arturo Salazar in Soderbergh’s “Traffic, »


- Nick Vivarelli

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